I want to revamp my apartment and focus on soft furnishings, furniture and accessories. Are ther any particular styles or items I should look for - and where do I get them?
Refresh your home with soft furnishings
I want to revamp my new apartment for the new year but, because I'm likely to move before the end of the year, I'd like to focus on using soft furnishings, furniture and accessories. Are there any particular styles or items I should look for - and where do I begin? If you're trying to revamp a flat but already know that you may move, you should focus on getting together a collection of pieces such as lamps, cushions, dishes and accessories that have a common theme, so that they can become something you love and want to take with you - rather than being simply disposable, functional items. Most vital is that you should pick something you enjoy; something with which you want to continue living. But, on the other hand, don't introduce the pressure of feeling that you should buy only things that you need to love forever.
1. It might seem a cliché but don't we all want something fresh, cheerful and clean for the new year? For me this often means using natural imagery in a modern, styled way - such as the sketched leaves of my Sylvana Arboretum design, (shown here). When they're combined with fuchsia, the lime and taupe shades feel homely but also fun and energising. All three shades look fantastic against dark woods, too, and you don't need to do anything as big as wallpaper. They can be picked up in accessories as small as pillar candles or coasters.
2. The most overarching tendency in interior decoration at the moment is that people are looking backwards for inspiration - to both colours and warmth. This doesn't mean to say that they're going for something old-fashioned - not so. But the feelings evoked (warmth, intimacy) and the way in which it's done (through pretty detail and texture) is an old, classic idea that reminds us of the past in the best way possible.
3. I would avoid anything that is too much of the moment. A great thing to do when updating an existing scheme is to simply find yourself a new occasional table or chair that is a bit different from what you have already, gives you pleasure and will add another dimension to the room, so you can move on with it. 4. Introducing touches of colour is a great trick for refreshing your home in ways that you can still take with you when you leave. Some of the most popular colours being chosen from our collections at the moment are teals, limes and vivacious pinks. We're also finding that people are really warming to our Sylvana Satins and Swan Lake wallpapers - all subtle and delicate but highly decorative, and all in the softer grey-to-turquoise colourways. Another example of this kind of retro-modern development that we've seen lately is our luxurious Arboretum design that comes with a velvet appliqué in teal-blue colour. Working this in with chocolate brown is a great example of the zingy but classic appeal of teal - and all blues - with brown: it looks fantastic and fits in well with all the shades of beige and cream that have been around recently. Take inspiration from this and pick up similar colours throughout your home, from cushions to throws, candles to pots.
5. There's nothing worse than a badly lit room, regardless of what's within it. Lighting is incredibly important. Make sure you have enough light but don't overdo it. A great tip that always works is that, if in doubt, make the lighting softer - take it away from the main focus of the room, unless there's something in particular on which you'd like to focus. Have a look at the lighting you already have. A great tip that almost always works is to make the lamps a bit softer, perhaps by updating the lampshades. Make sure you mix the lighting and have different levels of light for different functions, such as entertaining, reading and general use.
6. Follow your own feelings. It's a very odd time right now, with people continuously looking to the past for trends. Never be put off by someone telling you something's not right. By all means invest in classic old-fashioned pieces but put a different take on them and make the look your own. Above all, don't be afraid - buy what you like. Emily Davies was talking to Nina Campbell. www.ninacampbell.com